Survival, Sveyn

Writing Prompt: You are trapped on an alien world where the Dinosaurs aren’t extinct. You’re naked and have a weird implant in your arm. You need to survive.

Sveyn lay naked upon a ground that felt foreign to his skin, gravel-grains sticking into flesh, the damp of the land oddly warm.

What is this place? Where am I?

He struggled against the harsh light of the land, a waning sun setting low against the far horizons, and by the Gods what horizons they were.

An endless sea of skyscraper buildings sank into the soft earth of the world, punched out windows reflecting the dark from mirrored shards, the shattered husks merely a glimpse of the former glory these towers once held.

Off the vast walls the droplets of fading sunlight burst out across the newly-flowering grass lands, simmering up through the tops of the most enormous of trees you might ever of seen. Trunks too thick to ever splinter, branches holding out like muscular arms not shy of manual labour. What looked to be birds, but could only be said to be shadows soaring some miles overhead, flanked the canopies of these enormous treetops, screeching against the gentle winds.

There were highways, too. Or at least what Sveyn remembered as being highways. Great slabs of concrete raised upon heavy pillars, faint shadows dotted across the girth of these monstrosities. So contrasting were the modern structures to the prehistoric jungles of this world that Sveyn could scarcely figure if he was truly awake, or just caught between dreams. Trapped, perhaps, between one world and another as they converged to form some nightmarish realm of apocalyptic nature.

Forcing himself to his knees, Sveyn regarded his own reflection in the murky waters of a misplaced puddle. He saw his skin, beaten, scarred and riddled with dirt, though far from frail or gaunt.

Have I been… fed? How long was I asleep for?

The last thing he could recall was travelling through London on the Underground. Then the lights had gone out, the train had ground to a stop, then there were voices, deep, guttural voices…

Sveyn shook himself from memory and slowly his mind made sense of the puddle in which he was gazing. 

A footprint? 

That it was, but of a foot far larger than any Sveyn had ever seen. He could have crawled within the depth of the print and lain down to submerge himself within the puddle’s waters.

He gazed up at the skies once more and saw now that which had looked to be birds seemed far too large to be such, their wings too wide, their beaks too long. 

What are they? 

Sveyn knew, even if he couldn’t remember. Somewhere deep within the crags of a mind that recognised those shapes the truth barked to be heard, but Sveyn would deny this nightmare for so long as he could manage.

Coming to his feet he felt an uneasy pain rise in his stomach, his head grew light, his legs grew feeble. He had no knowledge of how long it had been since he’d last walked. 

Too long. 

He sucked at the air of this foreign land. It was breathable, at least. Though there lingered the stench of an ancient sweat, muddied by smoke. 

Smoke! 

Sveyn surveyed the nearest highways, the cluster-f*ck of prehistoric nature, the treetop and, the husks of buildings. 

It’s coming form up over the lake.

It was not too far from where he stood, some place beyond the first of those concrete giants, the fabled fallen highways, buried beneath and between two office blocks that had crumbled and formed an arch of debris.

A lake.

The waters clear as crystal save for the raining dust and mortar that trickled in from above. Ripples shone beneath the light, slowly decaying with the day. And there was the smoke, grey and fleeting, but smoke all the same. It rose from the banks of the lake, too far to see from what or from whom it came. But it would be a start, there would be a start.

Sveyn stretched himself out, arms raised above his head, hoping to rid his bones of the deep seated ache they carried, hearing but not feeling the popping like candy that burst up through his spine. As he stretched he shuddered, noticing a tight pinching at his forearm. He gazed down at the skin and saw some strange protrusion underneath the crease of his skin. A lump that flickered a gentle crimson light. When he tried to feel the lump, to gauge its size, its depth, its plumpness, his arm was shot with a violent stinging pain that seized the muscles. It was as if the flashing bulge were some sort of cyst, a poisoned heap too fragile and sore to be handled.

I’ll cut it out. 

He searched the nearby grasslands, but there was nothing to be had. No tools, no knife, not even a shirt to cover his bare back.

Naked, alone and helpless, with an implant he had no hope of understanding or removing, Sveyn set off for the lake. The lake housed beneath the ruins of what might once have been offices holding several hundred people each, now desolate and lifeless.

He was trapped in a world he didn’t recognise, unable to comprehend if this was his home or some alien place to which he’d been transported.

He wanted answers. He needed answers.

Perhaps the smoke would lead him to them…

His thoughts trailed off to silence as the ground beneath him started to shake. All around the great trunks of old-world giants billowed, seeming to bow down upon the world as if ready to fall free from the land, giving way to some unknown God, announcing the presence of that which was coming.

Nesting birds (and these did look like birds) fled from their perches for the cloudless skies, to join the behemoths that were their brethren.

A sound like tiny, pitted explosions carried off from the distance, and at the epicenter of it all, hounding down the space between life and certain death, Sveyn saw something that struck fear deep into his heart. Something with scales that gleamed in the near-dead sun, something of gargantuan proportion, something with eyes that glowered beneath wet and silky lids.

His body caved, his legs gave out, his lungs ceased their breathing, and his mind denied it all.

Until, that was, he saw buried in the softer bark of some less-lively trunk of wood, an axe.

Gods have mercy.

Summoning what strength he could find Sveyn set off, crouched low to the ground and quietly sprinting, with but a single thought to spur him on; 

Survive. I have to survive.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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